July 3, 2008

Latest on the Legal Issues

So much has happened. Where to begin? Ok, let me sum up. Here are my overall thoughts on player discipline issues independent of the events of this off season.
  • Boys will be boys stuff: Sometimes college kids do dumb and mostly harmless things. As long as no one else is badly hurt, I can live with some of that. If you have 100 boys on campus for a year a few of them will do something mischievous and dumb. It's virtually unavoidable. Regardless, this category of "offense" doesn't make me uncomfortable as a fan/alumni as long as we're punishing appropriate.

  • Crimes of Paperwork or Nuisance: If a player forgets to pay a parking ticket and gets his license suspended, that doesn't bother me. Nor does jaywalking, ScooterGate, or loud music. We probably punish more severely and more publicly than anyone else in this regard.

  • Crimes of Technicality: If you have a souvenir knife in your dorm room or a legally purchased fire arm 6 inches from being stored properly in your vehicle per a law that's coming off the books in 30 days, those are crimes of technicality. We probably over punish for these. These things don't freak me out.

  • Legit DUIs: If you blow over .08, you're drinking and driving. This pisses me off. There's no reason to get a DUI in Athens. Cab rides are too cheap, house parties are too common, and walking is too feasible for a student to get a DUI. Multiple DUIs should get your drunk ass booted. We punish severely for this, and I'm glad.

  • Drugs: I have never used drugs in my life, and I have very little empathy towards people who create trouble for themselves in this regard. Historically, Richt has been great about punishment in this area. As a fan...this worries me when I see it.

  • Violence Against Students / Others: I have virtually no tolerance whatsoever for this as a fan or alumni. Our society has laws that protect the strong from preying on the weak. Small time "boys will be boys" bar fights aside, this makes me VERY nervous because it is thugish.

  • Violence Against Women: I have zero tolerance for this. Basically, I have very little tolerance for disrespecting women in general. It's too common in our society.
So with that as a back drop...that's sort of my thoughts on off the field issues in general. It's the lens from which I see problems and decide whether or not I personally think it's a big deal or not. Not that anyone really cares, but here's what I think.
  • Lemon -- I'm extremely uncomfortable with the Michael Lemon situation in all regards. I seriously doubt that a player with no prior track record of violence (that I'm aware of) just walked over and started beating the shit out of a guy unprovoked, but right now Lemon's story seems pretty weak. He was suspended indefinitely by Richt today, and I think that's appropriate.

    If Lemon is guilty of doing what has been described publicly, then I hope he gets booted. I don't give a damn how bad his upbringing was. The other kid is a UGA student. Parents send their kids to college expecting that big, strong athletes who are attending the university for free won't beat the shit out of their kids. It's a reasonable expectation. Regardless of "his side," Lemon is currently in deep crap.

    My personal advice to the universe...if you can't go heels with a 6'4" 265 pound can of whoop ass that says "don't talk to my girl," you should probably not talk to his girl. That doesn't mean Lemon was right for stomping his ass. I'm just saying.

  • Sturdivant / Anderson - How stupid do you have to be to touch a pregnant woman's belly? That said, I feel like this entire thing has been blown way out of proportion by all the parties involved.

    I expect this entire thing to go away once cooler heads or wallets prevail (Note: I found it interesting that the young lady wanted her name published in the AJC. Why didn't she just list a bank account while she was at it.). They are both idiots for getting themselves into a mess like this to begin with. I wouldn't touch my own wife's belly without permission. Assuming I was married.

  • Boling -- He was pinched on DUI charges. He got a 2 game suspension according to Richt. Good. He needs to get his head on straight because the next boozy offense will snag him a 6 or 7 game suspension. No UGA player has turned his career back around after a second DUI in the Richt era.

  • Lomax -- He was exonerated by the police according to Richt. It was an absurd case to begin with. It sounded much worse than it was.
Overall, I'm comfortable with the discipline approach and levels at UGA. I wish we got into trouble less, but I agree with Coach's Richt's overall comments on this...more good is happening than bad on campus right now. It's just that our bad has been much more high profile.

PWD

27 comments:

A-Phiz said...

I agree with all of what you said PWD. I am also really glad to see that they law is not going to pursue the Lomax case. That is a mistake I can live with and I would much rather have a player be honest with the police about his mistakes rather than hide it and make it worse. The other players will get what they deserve.

Ally said...

I completely agree. The Lomax case was ridiculous from the beginning and I'm glad for him that its resolved in his favor. I have a lot of respect for the way he hadndled himself & took responsibility as well.

The situation with Sturdivant & Anderson seems like a joke gone bad. However, as a woman I can say that I absolutely would've been just a tad freaked out & scared if three big men I didn't know started touching my pregnant belly in a sexual manner and didn't stop when I asked them to do so. I don't blame her for feeling the need to press charges.

Anonymous said...

Internet rumor is that there may be security video of Anderson/Sturdivant. If so, that would be interesting to see. My hunch is that Anderson/Surdivant is even more nothing than Lomax. Otherwise, i think you are exactly right in all your other analysis, including your advice to the 'universe'.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Plus, what no one brings up any more is that we had 24 players go on a mission trip to Honduras with Coach. I'll take those numbers. They also build Habitat Houses each summer. Just sayin'...

Andy said...

Regardless, Lemon should control himself; it's cool to stand-up for your girl, and on campus, sure, nothing's going to happen but you dishing out a beat-down. That's the sort of thing though that'll get you shot or killed anywhere else, and he knows that (big man on campus, not anymore). Just sayin' as well. . .

JasonC said...

I don't think you can do it in this day-and-age of the NCAA, but I would really like to see an installment of the "Junction Dawgs" and see CMR take the team out into the middle of nowhere South Georgia for the summer and keep them secluded from at these temptations and trials. Let 'em run and gasp down sand gnats instead of getting pinched by the law for trivial and legit causes.

Doug said...

As far as the Lemon thing goes, if you're a football player, it seems like you should be able to induce pants-peeing fear in your opponent with a simple glare and a "You got somethin' to say to my girlfriend?" -- you really shouldn't need to bring actual fists into it. That won't result in anything positive for anyone involved.

Brian said...

Does the recent trouble stem from getting better atheletes with less than desirable characters to get georgia back on top or is last years success going to some players heads making them feel untouchable or could it just be more notiriaty making mountains out of mole hills? Will georgia accept 10-15 arrests for 1 national championship? Is georgia the next Miami? Ok, so the last one went too far. Lets just hope these become unfortunate incidents and not staples of the program just to win some football games.

Quinton McDawg said...

If touching a woman's pregnant belly is cause for legal action, my wife could have kept local prosecutors very busy during her pregnancy. Something else is going on there. Maybe the girl wants some publicity or maybe it goes beyond a mere bellyrubbing.

As for Lemon, I think his days as a Dawg may be over. If he gets convicted of a felony, it'll be difficult to reinstate him under any circumstances.

Ally said...

Quinton, if you read "her account" from the ajc, she makes it clear that it was beyond just touching her belly. She says it was sexual in nature and when she asked them to stop, they refused. 3 big men wouldn't stop touching her body when she asked. That's enough to frighten any woman. Would your wife feel threatened in that scenario? I know I would.

I don't know whether she's telling the truth and none of us have heard Bean & Trinton's side or seen the video footage. All I do know is when I read her account, I was bothered and could understand (if true) why she would feel compelled to report the incident.

Anonymous said...

As far as I'm concerned a first-time DUI should be cause for dismissal - but certainly a second DUI should be an automatic out! Dr. Thomas Johnson Class of '74

Anonymous said...

Ally, I think you need to reread the article. Never said they did not refuse. Now it did say that they were saying stuff to her as she turned and walked away. Also she said uncomfortable a kind of sexual manner. Well what did she expect them to do rub her belly as if they were patting a dog.

Anonymous said...

you should try drugzzzz...they are fun as hell!

Ally said...

Anon 12:04 - Maybe you should reread the article as well. Here is what she said, according to the ajc:

"One of them asked what my name was and I told them. He asked me if I was pregnant and asked me to turn around and I did. All three of them then came up around me and two of them started touching my stomach in a way that was very uncomfortable, a kind of sexual manner. I turned and walked away and they started following me and making sexual comments."
Bailey, who said she is six months pregnant, said the advances were unsolicited. "I never gave them permission to put their hands on me," she said emphatically.

1) She says they followed her & made sexual comments after she turned to walk away. When they decided to follow her and continue making sexual comments, it is a refusal to stop. For most women, having men follow you after touching you inappropriately & without permission, while making sexual comments, is frightening to say the least.
2) She makes it abundantly clear that she didn't give them permission to touch her. In the scenario that she describes, it is again most certainly threatening for most women - especially those that are pregnant.

Again, I don't know if she is telling the truth. IF she is, however, I can certainly understand why she would feel the need to press charges. And IF Bean and Trinton did what she says they did, they deserve to be punished. More importantly, they need to understand that those types of behavior ARE a big deal and can be very frightening to women.

skidawg1985 said...

Sorry, but from what has been revealed so far in the Lemon case, the student was talking to the Lemon's girlfriend. There has been nothing to indicate anything untoward reported.

Maybe the guy did not know she had a boyfriend?

Maybe they found out they were a class together or were going to be or were in the same major and just talking about stuff?

How about testing Lemon for steroids? (If you do not think college players are taking them or that UGA players somehow would never do it, then I have a bridge over the East River that I can sell you).

I feel for coaches. I think there is a natural desire to give these young men (they are not "kids") a second chance. I hesitate to put forth a policy that is so sweeping as not to take into account individual circumstances. I hate "zero tolerance" policies that lead to things like a butter knife in a car on school grounds being cause for suspicion.

However, second chances that backfire tend to backfire big. I remember some of Tom Osborne's second chances and how they were ripped in the national media (and even within the Husker Nation).

These situations probably cause more gray hairs and ulcers for a coach than trying to defense the spread offense.

Someone asked about whether UGA was talking more players with baggage or poor character. I just think it is a progression that began long ago. Athletes start getting coddled and special treatment in middle school. Too many do not pay the consequences for their decisions on small things and that escalates.

While Richt points out the good deeds and the good GPA, something negative carries much more of a PR nightmare than all the Habitat houses in the world cannot counterbalance.

Anonymous said...

Brian @ 11:15 asks whether the prominence of recent legal trouble among our football team is attributable to:

1. our program's willingness to compromise character for success, or
2. our team's recent success contributing to a feeling of invincibility among our players, or
3. the increased media scrutiny that comes with success.

Although these factors can and certainly do contribute to the prominence of legal troubles in some programs, I'd argue that none are major contributors in our situation. Instead--and some will disagree here--I think that this offseason more or less mirrors every other offseason during the Richt era. For the most part, our players will keep their noses clean and work hard to get better, but some will invariably get into trouble. It happens this way every offseason. Some offseasons are worse. Some are better. There's an ebb and flow to it. But the presence of disciplinary issues is as inevitable as death and taxes.

The reason is not b/c we're recruiting more "bad character" guys. The reason is b/c we're recruiting 18-22 year olds, many of whom lack the wisdom to live responsibly with the new-found freedoms of college life.

Short of a "Junction Dawgs" maneuver by our coaching staff, we're going to have these incidents every offseason, regardless of the amount of educating, warning, threatening, or punishing our coaches do. Chalk it up to fallen human nature manifesting itself when given the right opportunity.

Don't get me wrong--I'm not suggesting that Richt and Co. become complacent or content with these problems. I'm just suggesting that a realistic estimate of their frequency might serve us all well.

KS

Lucid Idiocy said...

It concerns me that a man who goes by the name Paul Westerdawg has never used drugs.

False advertising, I say.

Paul Westerdawg said...

Brian,

For your post to even begin to make sense one would have to first assume that players who are faster, stronger, taller and bigger are some how inherently dumber, meaner and more corrupt.

Are you saying there's a "Mean Gene" that's connected to the "Big Gene" in the genetic structure of mankind?

That's as wild as the Big 10 Commissioner saying that fast kids are too stupid for the Big 10.

PWD

Anonymous said...

What was a pregnant woman..sans husband...doing in a college dorm after midnight...not saying it makes her fair game for being pawed but makes her judgment suspect!

69Dawg said...

Not to downgrade the Lemon matter but I had a roommate at UGA that dated Jake Scott's girlfriend. He knew it at the time and I told him he had a death-wish. He got caught by about half the football team coming out of the theater and had to run for his life. UGA football players were a lot slower in those days.

Anonymous said...

I don't happen to agree with Brian either, PWD, but in his defense I think he was saying that if a scenario presented itself in which we had a choice between a low-character, high-talent guy and a high-character, less-talented guy, we'd opt for the former. I don't think he was saying that low-character and high-talent always go hand in hand. In fact, many times we get to have both (DJ Shockley comes to mind, among others). And mediocre talent can just as easily be accompanied by bad character. As you said, there's no correlation.

The real question that needs to be asked is how often such an either-or situation occurs in recruiting, and whether there's any evidence that we're knowingly picking low-character guys in that situation. IYAM, the burden of proof to demonstrate both of those things is pretty high. I prefer the explanation that these are 18-22 year-olds, who on occasion do stupid things.

KS

Brian said...

Anonymous 8:23 (KS) - Thanks for jumping in there to help set PWD straight. I was in no way trying to make a physical correlation with a psychological one. And KS, I don't believe that either but it is a fact that certain teams (mostly pro, like the Bengals or the Raiders) will take "chances" on less than outstanding individuals because of their outstanding skills on the field.

KS - you also say you're "just suggesting that a realistic estimate of their frequency might serve us all well." I wonder how many arrest LSU or Florida had the years the won the National Title? How many arrest did Notre Dame have the year they went 3-9?

I don't think Richt runs that type of program but it doesn't mean that the thought doesn't run through your head as the arrest pile up.

Paul Westerdawg said...

Brian - I was too harsh.

That said...I don't think you can compare the arrests at one school to another because the local law enforcement organizations have wildly different priorities.

For instance....in Atlanta, the cops have bigger fish to fry than Jaywalking or open container (generally speaking).

That said....when our kids do sinister things, I worry. When they do dumb / tacky things, I don't.

Paul Westerdawg said...

to the Anon who asked when was the last time we knowingly recruited (and admitted) an eye brow raiser for the football team....I'd guess D. Swain.

They knew from the jump that they were going to have their hands full with that one.

But having seen Swain play in HS (pre-adding the 30+ pounds after football season), I can tell you that the risk vs. potential rewards looked reasonable.

His ability to move at 6'3" and 270 lbs was AMAZING. He could just glide at that size. Sadly, he played at around 330 lbs here. And in reality, he never got in any REAL trouble. Most of his issues were paperwork related.

Most of the other real eyebrow raiser players we didn't admit or walked away from during the recruiting process. Sometimes that was the admissions department. Sometimes it was the coaches.

PWD

Hobnail_Boot said...

PWD -

To add to your last point, Georgia has walked away from the likes of Michael Grant and Tavares Kearney.

Anonymous said...

Not this year, but in total : How many individual suspensions are there of UGA football players by Coach Richt ?

Anonymous said...

I know of no way to determine the character of the players we recruit other than past behavior. There is no way to predict future behavior. Even if there were, there are those that would step out of line in 4-5 years.
When I got to Athens, I went nuts--not homicidal, but I had several short intense incidents where I violated the social norms. Nobody got hurt, and aside from my roomie almost geting us kicked out of Russell, nothing was said. It was kid stuff and I was a knucklehead.
I don't see a whole lot of difference between the knuckleheads of today and the knuckleheads of 1974.
I have only had character concerns about 3 players Richt has recruited. Grant was one, another made it thought without a scratch and one still on the team. Richt has done a good job.

 
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